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new music: the commission project [Apr. 26th, 2007|02:15 pm]
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Celeste Hutchins, an American electronic composer working in the Netherlands, is conducting an excellent project / experiment for the next few months. She's composing an album full of one-minute pieces by affordable commissions (the current rate is around US$15 for this project, future iterations will cost more). She was originally auctioning them on eBay, now she has an Etsy Composition Shop. By commissioning a work, you can choose the title of the work and have your name included in the program and support an excellent and thoughtful artist.

The compositions themselves are abstract, but clear, evocative and varied. She writes descriptions of them including the steps she took to compose them (connect a sawtooth wave to an old-fashioned plate reverb, convolved with a human voice, etc) which give them a wonderful DIY / opensource / antiobscuritanist feel. Some favorites thus far: #4 Radioactive, #7 Dusky in Flight, #11 I Agree With T

Hir project statement is very forward-thinking in terms of independent music business:

I think commissioning is the answer to [the dilemma of independent music distribution]. The commission amount covers costs. The fans get something real in return - their name attached to the work - a credit as an integral part of the creation. Because as the RIAA knows and fears, the fans have been integral all along. This is one answer to the question of how smaller artists can thrive in a direct-to-consumer, sharing sort of environment. The gift economy! The commissioner gives money to the artist who gives music to hir fans. Like other gift economies, the value of the gifts grow as it spreads to more and more people. Instead of fighting the internet economies of data, this model requires it.

[...] If somebody gets this concept to work in practice, then we have the new model. So here’s my trial seeking a proof of concept. Music can be free and artists and fans can cooperate and thrive without leech-like corporations persecuting both.

To support this cool project I commissioned two works:

  1. #15 Space Corridor (which I'm looking to embed in a future Men of Science song)
  2. #20 Poodleface Birthday (commissioned for Rob's birthday)
which the composer graciously gave permission to sample in our future compositions.

Her ideas and commissions based independent music are already catching on! poodleface is planning to do short commission albums in the future.

Celeste Hutchins
Commission Project
Etsy Composition Shop
Space Corridor
Poodleface Birthday

Get them while they are hot!


From: atl
2007-04-26 06:41 pm (UTC)
great find. Thanks, Graham!
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[User Picture]From: masquerader317
2007-04-26 07:27 pm (UTC)
fantastic! Great links! Sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to you at NoFest!
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[User Picture]From: unya
2007-04-26 10:25 pm (UTC)
this is genius. a true sound pioneer.
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[User Picture]From: threv
2007-04-27 05:25 pm (UTC)
have you heard about the fateless flows collective?

randy's part of it & he introduced me to the neat idea.

a group of 10+ artists from anywhere band together to form a collective. the first release is a compilation cd with 1 track from each artist. each artist also pays $10 into the pool. the pool covers production costs. artists are given the cds from the final production to sell on their own to cover costs, and profit.

after the initial run of compilations, each artist makes their own full-length cd to be released by the collective. same thing happens - everyone donates $10, cd is made, everyone gets copies to cover costs & sell cds. lather rinse repeat until album for all artists is made, then make a new compilation.
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